When a lawmaker retires, he hopes that voters and reporters will take a look back at all his legislative achievements. But poor David Wu--his signature accomplishment might be getting re-elected despite increasingly weird and unsavory behavior. Wu said he'd resign from Congress Tuesday after House Democrats urged an investigation into allegations that he engaged in "unwanted sexual behavior" with the teen daughter of a friend.
But that incident, reported Friday, was just the first in a string of questionable episodes which caused his staff to resign after confronting him in what sounds a lot like an intervention, staged with his psychiatrist just before the 2010 midterm elections.
What happened to David Wu? After growing up as an overachiever--he attended Stanford, Harvard, and Yale--and becoming the first Chinese-American elected to Congress, he's leaving office as the butt of infinite Internet jokes. But looking back at past behavior, a pattern emerges.
Summer 1976: Wu's ex-girlfriend at Stanford accuses him of trying to force her to have sex. Initially, Wu claimed it was consensual, telling police, "I was with my girlfriend, and we just got a little carried away," according to the officer's memory. The woman declined to press charges.
August 1998: After months of friction with Wu, his campaign manager quits upon hearing rumor of the assault, later calling it "a very small, but final, straw that broke the camel's back."
October 2004: The Oregonian brings the Stanford incident to light. Wu issues a statement reversing his original position, calling the incident "inexcusable behavior on my part," and explaining, "As a 21-year-old, I hurt someone I cared very much about. I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry... This single event forever changed my life and the person that I have become."
Update: A reader alerts that on February 19, 2010, Wu totaled a rental car after smashing into a parked Ford Focus near Portland, the Willamette Week reported. According to public records, the Focus' owner told the 911 operator, "I'm assuming that there's some kind of disability, if he was driving on the wrong side of the street... He says he fell asleep. I don't believe him."
October 27, 2010: Wu gives a loud, angry speech, causing a member of the Washington County Democratic Party member to complain formally.
October 29, 2010: A traveler files a complaint with the Transportation Security Administration after Wu manages to convince a TSA employee let him into a restricted area of the Portland airport to try to convince de-planing passengers to vote for him. The outburst was followed two days later by an episode at Portland International Airport, where Wu used his influence as a member of Congress to enter a restricted area and campaign for votes from off-loading passengers.
Wee hours of October 30, 2010: Female staffers receive several strange emails written from Wu's private address but signed by his teenage children. One urged, "Cut him some slack, man. What he does when he's wasted is send emails, not harass people he works with." Another said, "My Dad says you're the best because not even my Mom put up with him for [REDACTED: #] years and you have. We think you're cool." Another was the infamous photo of Wu dressed in a Tiger suit. His aides believe all the messages were sent by Wu himself from his BlackBerry.
(Photo via Willamette Week/Associated Press.)
October 30, 2010: Wu's staff confronts him about his erratic behavior over the four previous days, bringing his psychiatrist into the meeting. His pollster had emailed staffers earlier that day, saying, "This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW... No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else." But Wu wouldn't listen to his aides' appeals, and told them he was leaving to go see a movie.
February 23, 2011: Wu apologizes on Good Morning America for sending the tiger photo. "I think a take home lesson from this is that while [the photos] were very, very unprofessional you shouldn't ever send photographs of yourself in a Halloween costume, something you intend to wear to a private party a couple nights later," Wu admitted. "It's just not professional even when you're joshing around with your kids a couple nights before Halloween. I did send those photographs, it was unprofessional and inappropriate."
Hours later on February 23, 2011: Wu admits to the Oregonian that he took oxycontin from a campaign donor for neck pain. "The donor offered me an alternative painkiller, and I took two tablets. This was the only time that this has ever happened... I recognize that my action showed poor judgment at the time, and I sincerely regret having put my staff in a difficult position."
July 22, 2011: The Oregonian reports a woman, 18, left distraught voicemails at Wu's congressional office "accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter." She was the daughter of Wu's high school friend, and initially, Wu told aides the incident was consensual and the newspaper only that: "This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention, or stress to a young woman and her family."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
Many point to unromantic 20-somethings and women’s entry into the workforce, but an overlooked factor is the trouble young men have in finding steady, well-paid jobs.
TOKYO—Japan’s population is shrinking. For the first time since the government started keeping track more than a century ago, there were fewer than 1 million births last year, as the country’s population fell by more than 300,000 people. The blame has long been put on Japan’s young people, who are accused of not having enough sex, and on women, who, the narrative goes, put their careers before thoughts of getting married and having a family.
But there’s another, simpler explanation for the country’s low birth rate, one that has implications for the U.S.: Japan’s birth rate may be falling because there are fewer good opportunities for young people, and especially men, in the country’s economy. In a country where men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support families, a lack of good jobs may be creating a class of men who don’t marry and have children because they—and their potential partners—know they can’t afford to.
“Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself,” Trump said. “So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have—which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”
By midnight on July 20, 2017, it seemed increasingly likely that Donald Trump will fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
Mueller embodies what is admirable in U.S. public service: a wounded and decorated Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, longtime prosecutor and U.S. Attorney under both Republican and Democratic presidents, 12-year director of the FBI under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, unconnected to scandal or partisan suspicions at any point.
Donald Trump embodies the reverse.
Yet for now Trump has the legal power, directly or indirectly, to dismiss Mueller, if the investigation gets too close to Trump’s obviously sensitive financial concerns. And Trump himself, unaware of history and oblivious to rules, norms, and constraints, has given every indication that this will be his next step.
The transcript of the president’s conversation with The New York Times throws his shortcomings into greater relief than ever before.
“Now Donald Trump has finally done it” is a sentence many people have said or written, but which has never yet proven true. As Trump gained momentum during the campaign season, errors that on their own would have stopped or badly damaged previous candidates bounced right off.
These ranged from mocking John McCain as a loser (because “I like people who weren’t captured”), to being stumped by the term “nuclear triad” (the weapons of mass destruction that he as U.S. president now controls), to “when you’re a star ... you can grab ‘em by the pussy” (my onetime employer Jimmy Carter had to spend days in the 1976 campaign explaining away his admission to Playboy that he had sometimes felt “lust in the heart”), to being labelled by an in-party opponent a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and “a narcissist at a level I don't think this country's ever seen” (the words of his now-supporter Ted Cruz). I kept my list of 152 such moments in the Time Capsule series as the campaign went on.
Epic yet intimate, the director's new war film is boldly experimental and visually stunning.
What is Dunkirk?
The answer is more complicated than one might imagine. Director Christopher Nolan’s latest is a war film, of course, yet one in which the enemy scarcely makes an appearance. It is a $150 million epic, yet also as lean and spare as a haiku, three brief, almost wordless strands of narrative woven together in a mere 106 minutes of running time. It is classic in its themes—honor, duty, the horror of war—yet simultaneously Nolan’s most radical experiment since Memento. And for all these reasons, it is a masterpiece.
The historical moment captured by the film ascended long ago to the level of martial lore: In May 1940, in the early days of World War II, some 400,000 British and Allied troops were flanked and entrapped by Germany on the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. Although the Channel was narrow enough that the men could almost see across to England, the waters were too shallow for warships to approach the beaches. So a flotilla of some 700 civilian craft—the “Little Ships of Dunkirk”—made their way from Ramsgate in England to assist in the rescue.
The president’s lawyers are looking at multiple ways to undermine or curtail the Russia inquiry, including his issuing pardons.
President Trump is exploring steps to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation into the president’s campaign and business dealings, inching the country closer to uncharted constitutional waters.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump’s private legal team is scouring the backgrounds of Mueller and his prosecutors for potential conflicts of interest and damaging information to be used against them. According to the Times, that research is part of a broader effort by Trump to curtail and discredit the former FBI director’s probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
The Times’s account depicted a president who is increasingly angered by the sprawling Russia investigation that has become a central feature of his young presidency. Trump displayed flashes of that anger during a lengthy interview Wednesday with the Times, in which he flitted between channeling his ire towards Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, as well as James Comey, the former director of the FBI ousted by Trump in May.
As a Trump-commissioned panel searches for phantom fraud, its requests for data have convinced some citizens to opt out of their right to vote preemptively.
From the moment the president announced the creation of a panel to examine voter fraud and elections, voting-rights advocates warned that the real purpose of the commission was to suppress lawful votes. Then a series of reports from around the country over the last two weeks played directly into those fears, as voting officials in several states said citizens had been calling and asking to have their registrations canceled, rather than turned over to the commission as part of a huge request for data. Instances popped from Florida to Washington state and North Carolina to Colorado.
The good news is that so far there don’t actually seem to be that many cases of voters actually canceling, with most of them concentrated in Colorado—though nearly 4,000 people have withdrawn there, enough to swing a close election. Yet even if the scale of the problem is not great, the phenomenon of Americans willingly surrendering one of their most fundamental political rights in order to protect their privacy is a worrying one that touches on the future of voting in the United States as well as on the question of how public records like voter rolls should function in the internet age.
The “A Bit More” button doesn’t reinvent the appliance’s form. It finds its soul instead.
Last year I fell in love with a toaster.
It looks like most others. A brushed, stainless-steel housing. Four slots, to accommodate the whole family’s bread-provisioning needs. It is alluring but modest, perched atop the counter on proud haunches.
But at a time when industry promises disruptive innovation, Breville, the Australian manufacturer of my toaster, offers something truly new and useful through humility rather than pride.
The mechanism that raises and lowers the bread from the chassis is motorized. After I press a button atop the frame, the basket silently lowers the bread into the device to become toast. On its own, this feature seems doomed to mechanical failure. But the risk is worthwhile to facilitate the toaster’s star ability: the “A Bit More” button. That modest attribute offers a lesson for design of all stripes—one that could make every designed object and experience better.
John McCain is being urged to persevere based on strength of character, a quintessentially American approach to thinking about health.
Eighty-year-old Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The cancer is being described in news reports as it is in medical texts, as an “aggressive brain tumor.”
The weight of that diagnosis hasn’t registered in all quarters. For the average man his age, the tumor means the odds of surviving five years are in the single digits. There are outliers, but a bet on many years of life for McCain is vanishing. Still, the message from past and present American leaders has been that McCain is no average man. He is a fighter.
Here are just a few. Bill Clinton: “As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain.” Barack Obama: “John McCain is an American hero, and one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it's up against. Give it hell, John.” Joe Biden: “He is strong, and he will beat this.” Sarah Palin: “John McCain is one tough fighter.” Gabrielle Giffords: “You’re tough! You can beat this. Fight, fight, fight!” Mike Pence: “Cancer picked on the wrong guy. John McCain is a fighter, and he’ll win this fight too.” Elizabeth Warren: “John’s in fighting shape, and we're rooting for him.” John Dingell: “My friend John McCain is a dogged ole S.O.B. Sharp as hell and tougher than a $2 steak.”
A new study explores why the latter are far more likely to opt for an elite college where they'd struggle than a so-so one where they'd excel.
There’s a saying in China that it’s better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix. The premise of the aphorism—it’s better to be over-qualified than under-qualified relative to one’s surroundings—is so widely accepted that similar versions of it exist across cultures. In Japan, they tend to say that it’s better to be the head of a sardine than the tail of a whale. Americans and Brits often declare that it’s better to be a big frog (or fish) in a small pond than a little frog in a big pond.
Extensive research supports these axioms, particularly in the realm of education. Longitudinal studies have consistently shown that high-performing students at less-selective schools feel more competent, have higher GPAs, and have more ambitious career aspirations than low-performing students at more-selective schools.